11 October 2006

Politically Correct Election Report

I previously blogged about attending a Conference Fringe event on how to get an electoral swing.

In the aftermath of the 2005 election, the Conservative Party commissioned a report to uncover the key factors in getting an electoral swing. The report quantified the electoral impact of when you were selected (earlier the better), whether the PPC has fought in that seat before (yes that's a positive), the candidate's focus on local issues, the seat's distance from London (in 2005 the bigger swings happened in the South-East), voter targetting strategy etc etc etc. The Fringe event was illuminating and the insights shared in the room should help the PPCs in attendance.

On reflection, the report ignored some very significant but politically incorrect questions.

After all, the Conservative Party under Cameron is doing everything short of quotas to ensure that the "party reflects the country at large". In practice that means you are 4 times more likely to get on the A list if you're a woman than a man and that we are taking special steps to find a spot for characters such as Rehman Chisti (I think I'm on fairly safe ground to say he wouldn't have made the list if he were white). Also, whatever the rights and wrongs of the Local Association's actions, openly gay candidate Ashley Crossley managed to take the Tories from 2nd to 3rd in Falmouth & Cambourne whilst Julia Goldsworthy leapfrogged Labour and us to take the Libs from 3rd to 1st - and Iain Dale didn't do any better in North Norfolk.

Maybe my instinct is wrong or I am ignoring some resounding successes by identifiable minorities. If so, tell me, but a report into what candidates were successful should at least consider the factors that are then given preferential treatment, shouldn't it? Personally, I don't think that the "A-List" issue will be a dealbreaker, but for this Tory winning the next election is more important than hitting diversity targets. Should we fall just short at the next election and we have a few high-profile A-list failures I won't be the only person unforgiving of our leadership's failure to run a meritocracy.


Ellee said...

In Mid-Norfolk, the 20 strong list last weekend up for selection was reduced to 10, 5 men and 5 women, 1 ethnic minority on each side. It is so politically correct, down to the last t. One woman dropped out last night, another today, and the list will be made up by other women, the men, including the only 2 local candidates, do not get a second chance.

Croydonian said...

I think that there will be less resentment from the more 'Dulux #1 on the colour / diversity chart' constituencies once they are used to seeing Tory MPs who do not look like sitcom bank managers. I imagine there was much grinding and gnashing of teeth over Jewish Tories at one point, but precious few Conservatives (and none that I would wish to break bread with) would hold anti-semitic views now, I hope. Assuming a fair few Tory BME candidates win seats come the next election and they show themselves to be good MPs etc I trust that there will be a greater willingness to select (blind, as it were) on merit. Philosophically I'm not happy with the A List concept, but I can also see why DC felt he had to run with it.

CityUnslicker said...

I think this is a fair point and a good counter-balance to the Pro-A list point of view.

However, I also do not agree that a study would find the results you think. To get a swing in marginal london seats or Slough wtc we need the rght candidates for the area.

the A List promise was no mincing metrosecuals in yorkshire; this is the right way of doing it. We do need a wider variety of faces representing the paryt, but they should be concentrated where they will win votes not as tokenistic shoe-ins. This just leads to the Balir babe brigade; need I say more.